AbstractThe present study examined the effects of two atherogenic factors, animal protein and cholesterol, on the distribution of fatty acids and the molecular species of major liver phospholipids in mice. Weanling mice were fed a semisynthetic diet supplemented with either casein or soy protein (20%, w/w) in the presence or absence of 0.5% cholesterol for 4 wk. Results from mouse liver showed that animal protein and, more so, dietary cholesterol modified the fatty acid profiles of the phospholipids. Animal protein had no significant effect on the concentration of lipids, but it altered the relative distribution and fatty acid profiles of the phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine. Dietary cholesterol, on the other hand, significantly increased the concentration of liver lipids, but it did not alter the relative distribution of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine. In cholesterol-fed mice, the proportions of molecular species containing 18:2n-6 were increased, whereas those containing 20:4n-6 were decreased, indicating that dietary cholesterol suppressed linoleic acid metabolism. Since cholesterol feeding selectively decreased the ratio of 18:0/20:4n-6 in phosphatidylcholine, whereas it increased the 18:0/18:2n-6 ratio in phosphatidylethanolamine, this finding suggests that dietary cholesterol may affect the incorporation of fatty acids but not the rate of synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine.
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